The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 63: The Promised King

Chapter 30: The Promised King
(Or, "I Love Teleports")

It won't be long now, my Prince. I'll keep my promise.

Fair enough. It was I who saved your life... and it is I who will end it.

Shino and Rukia both sell at double this time, so I can buy three more Topaz Amulets next time Errands show up. Six, if Rukia's doubling kicks in. That is hilariously unnecessary and I love it.

Two new promotions this time.

Sadly, Owl does not get an option super or a kickass scarf, and his additional armor is entirely cosmetic. His big boost after promotion is Rear Blow, which is the strongest side-dependent damage skill and stacks with the already-large bonus to back attacks to make his damage much more respectable... If he can attack from the back, anyway. He has a pretty decent shot, mind, but it's not guaranteed.

He also has 10% more crit, so 20% after his Card bonus. Can't say I know whether he'll get to show that off much, though; only Alicia's left to promote and Owl's out for poor performance.

Selmer has finally, finally arrived, and his outfit is much improved. He now has Yumil Magna and Torus Spell. For all intents and purposes, Yumil Magna is the strongest attack spell available to the player, and it'll atomize just about anything in its line of fire. Multiple somethings sometimes, provided enemies line up just right.

Selmer learns Yumil Magna 4, which is as strong and as long-ranged as Oratoriorae 5 and 2/3 the cost, and unlike Oratoriorae it has a corresponding Shard skill. He'll pick up level 5 in a few levels and then start pumping up his +magic skills and Sedna Prison.

Sadly, Errands are locked again, presumably because they really, really hate you and don't want you promoting. Route A is incredibly dickish about its Errand timing and I hate it.

Altrius learns Lion Strike 2 and then 3. Sasha learns Foresight 1 (+dodge chance) and Retaliation 1 (+counter rate). Marie learns Cure Drop 5. Izuna learns Fearlessness 5 (50% damage boost! on Izuna!) and Ten'i Slip 3. 6 range, 45 MP Holy Favor. You'd expect this to be for emergencies, a kind of panic button.

You'd be wrong. Ten'i Slip is used for shenanigans. An intelligently-used Izuna plus a strong mage is a downright terrifying combination.

Another familiar map. This time, we're in the place where we faced down Mephreyu, this time sans Mephreyu.

Also mercifully devoid of the rows of Mages that made life so unpleasant last time.

None of the Armors have skills, and neither do the two Infantry just above them. The four Mages in the first room all have Fire Raid and Hell Warrior.

The left Swordsman in the group of two in the middle; the right one trades Thunder Seal for Foresight. Tired sets Evasion and Counter rates to 0%.

The single Jouster.

All five Swordsmen at the edge of the two rooms are the same.

All three War Mages in the top of the room have Abyss Gate. The High Priest has Cure Drop.

All three Guardians are the same.

The Thunder Medal reduces Thunder damage, so it's completely irrelevant.

His OB and Bio are the same as last time: 1) murders everything in all four cardinal directions, length unknown (but probably not very long), 2) Darkness zombie Prince.

Prince Serdic is big and very tough, even without defensive skills. Unlike Route B, he won't use Arc Charge. This time, we can't just murder him with Seven Sins, and we've got an additional wrinkle. There's a reason Altrius keeps harping on about giving him an "honorable death": We get a special event for having Altrius finish the job.

Altrius has 81 attack. Prince Serdic has 91 defense. 71 damage before attack skills. Sure, Duelist 3 brings that up to 90+, but... Frankly, this is still going to be a complete pain the ass if I can't lure him into Brave Ray range. At least the stage itself is relatively simple, due to the lower concentration of Armors.

There's four conversations this time. Let's get Route A Galahad out of the way first.

Igraine and Galahad

There is no corresponding special event for having Igraine or Galahad kill him instead.
Wellll... no one is asking us to do it yet.
Hmm... is that a good thing?
It's not good or bad. But we should do it! Let's just take responsibility here! Although the problem then would be actually defeating Serdic...
But the challenge is what makes it interesting, I think.
Well... If you do decide to do it...

That makes us sound even more responsible!
Gahaha! True, true, very true. Just the kind of insight I'd expect from you, Princess.
Hmph! Flattery will get you nowhere.
Wh-What...!? The Princess doubts my praise... it must be HIS fault!
Wait, Grandpa! If you do anything weird to Altrius, I'll be very upset with you!
Ohh... what a predicament! What am I supposed to do!?

That conversation has a weird "translation telephone" feel to it, at least to me. It just feels slightly off.

Selmer and Elmer

Either it's a likeness they've gotten to walk like a man, or it's a reanimated corpse. Whichever, it's a load of garbage.
It's thanks to that "garbage" that they succeeded in splintering our army.
So? It just means their illusion worked, that's all. But it's not like it had to be especially convincing for what they wanted to do.
I wonder if that was the Order's goal all along.
Who knows...

That was a close one, huh?

This is a funny comment in light of how spectacularly ineffective the Prince Serdic zombie gambit was in Route B... Though I suppose it's true that it would have been a disaster to crown the 'Serdic' who they know as Altrius.
True. Well, if we foil this latest plan of theirs... I do believe they'll be out of ideas.
Which means that now's the time to attack! C'mon, let's do this!
When is it ever not the time to attack for you...?

Margus and Kay

It's where Bretwalde was attacked, and where Prince Serdic died. It's time, Kay.
We'll fulfill our duties as the only remaining knights of Bretwalde.
Right. Prince Serdic... it won't be long now.

Altrius and Marie

I don't know. But whether he's real or fake, I can't allow this to continue.
Altrius, what do you intend to do?

Then I will help you.
Marie, there's no need for you to take part in this.
You've brought me this far, and you say this now? Besides... I wasn't able to be there the first time he died.


It's time.

And what better way to start than by having Selmer blow an enemy to hell with his newfound space laser?

Altrius, Izuna and Alicia are playing tank today. Alicia and Izuna have higher MCs, so I expect them to take the majority of the fire.

Look at that amount of missing health after this turn. Having two regenerators is nice, and all three of them are pretty tough. If I get the Goddess Medal (+8% regen) this time, I might put it on Alicia to complete the trio.

Sadly, Izuna is countered by the second enemy before she can utterly devastate them.

Now, I could use Holy Favor + Sedna Prison, and the rest of my characters could probably kill this enemy formation. But frankly, that's kind of boring. So it's time to use a vastly more complicated plot that does basically the same thing!

Remember, Holy Favor teleports in ZOC order: top to bottom, left to right, filling all the closest spaces.

I love doing goofy gimmick turns like this.

Thankfully, that one Armor who survived (with 13 HP; I blame Altrius) attacks Izuna and runs north.

She comes a little too close to dying, but that's what Marie is for.

Selmer is positioned to Sedna Prison the Mages, while the three tanks draw the next set of three enemies.

Izuna's popularity as a target makes it very easy to abuse Fearlessness.

Alicia's a little behind in levels. Sure, it'd be better to have more Hyperion levels than Highlander levels, but it's only a tenth of a point in each of her primary stats and half a point of HP; she'll only lose about 3-4 max HP and a point of each stat even if she catches up to everyone else before promoting.

Plus, it gives Marie more experience for healing her, and Alicia is the only one who can't regenerate. Even so, healing all of her injuries only gives 10 experience. This is the main reason level-grinding Marie for Oratoriorae is highly impractical: Healing lower-leveled targets doesn't give enough experience.

I can't count. I use White Dust instead, then place Altrius so he can Brave Ray the other one next turn.

Sasha attacks one of the Infantry...

...then finishes it the next turn. Altrius kills the left Mage with Brave Ray. Everyone moves up to attract attention from the next group, who aggro and approach.

Altrius blocks her left side, her top is blocked by an enemy, Selmer is pulled to her right.

The animation of the actual spell is identical to Holy Favor.

"Pull Mage in, Sedna Prison" is one of the big uses of Ten'i Slip, and it's a very good one. It's a shame it has so much overlap with Fearlessness, but having multiple ways of doing the same thing never hurts.

Between Duelist and Lateral Blow, Sasha is able to take out this Swordsman in one hit. She now has 3 OB; if it wasn't for the special trigger when Altrius kills Prince Serdic, then she could one-shot the boss now. He might have a lot of defense, but Tiger Fangs ignores that and his HP is nothing special.

The next turn, she burns it on a random mage instead. We'll be fine without it, and I want them dead. Alicia burns a Hero Gem to get to 2 OB; she'll use her OB next turn so Sasha can Tiger Fangs the other as well.

The two Armors at the top move down, and then...

That is a lot of Armors.

The doors on each side will spawn groups of two or four every other turn or so. They're all immediately aggressive too. Sedna Prison and Faerie Fire are more-or-less the only way to deal with this.

Change of target: Sasha can Tiger Fangs one of the Abyss Gate War Mages from here. She's out of OB, but Alicia has 2 OB, so she can give her the 1 OB she needs.

I consider using Ten'i Slip to bring Selmer above Izuna; that would let him kill three Armors with Yumil Magna. Ultimately, I decide against it, and have him White Dust the left Armor above the group; if I did that, he'd kill the left Armor and two in the top group, but he'd be killed by the closer surviving Armor. Similarly, using Izuna's turn to move Selmer means there's not enough support for teleport+Sedna Prison to be useful.

Instead, I go with the safer option.

Sasha shadow-shanks one of the three Abyss Gate users.

I'd already used Marie's turn healing Izuna, and Armors have a high counter rate. This was incredibly risky.

Did it anyway. Good thing it worked!

This is another example of that rare beast, the lucky counter. Alicia's much safer between Izuna and Sasha than where the attack would have normally placed her.

Altrius gets the kill to reach level 1 OB. He'll be using Brave Ray upward next turn, which should let him kill another Abyss Gate War Mage.

Before and after on the start-of-turn regeneration. It's enormously valuable.

Trying to deal with this without Sedna Prison would be a nightmare.

No counters! The two Sasha attacked from the front survive. Which I expected, and which is great, because... you'll recall, I mentioned in Route B that Fearlessness only activates on the second hit onward in a chain. So if you can tack a nearly-dead enemy on the front, that drawback vanishes.

Marie heals Alicia, Alicia kills this Armor. This is slightly risky; Alicia's in range of one of the top three Guardians now, and two Armors and a Guardian will kill her. I don't want Izuna taking too many attacks, though, and Izuna still has a higher MC...

It works out.

Marie doesn't get a lot of attention in screenshots, but she does good work. Thank you, Marie.

Sasha can't quite one-shot this Guardian. I'll have to put more points into Invoke Might...

So Altrius finishes the job.

This will also lure down a Guardian next turn and lets Izuna pull Selmer to a place where he won't be messily exploded when he Sedna Prisons both of these enemies.

Messed up a bit. Should have had Sasha end turn somewhere where she could Tiger Fangs the last War Mage.

Ninja warp talismans are absurdly convenient, though, so no problem.

Armors are still spawning in at the top doors at regular intervals. Alicia is attempting to lure the last Guardian into Yumil Magna range.

He completely ignores her but walks into it anyway. The AI is weird.

Only now, when Altrius has positioned himself in attack range, does Prince Serdic use Arc Charge.

The stage ends very simply. Selmer's Torus Spell can't supply him quite enough for another Yumil Magna, but he can cast White Dust just fine.

That takes off just enough HP for Brave Ray level 3 to finish the job.

If you don't finish the fight with Altrius...

...this line pops up before the Victory and rewards screens, and there's no after-battle dialogue.

Those are really lame rewards for a big fight.

(Buffing OB sound effect plays at the start of the scene here -- it's a kind of *ting* noise.)

Wh-What is this light!?

It's dimmed...
What in the world was that...?
Look! The Holy Blade is...

I don't think the giant sword laser "drew blood" so much as it reduced him to a fine mist.
Aha... the true Serdic's blood purified the Holy Blade.
Prince Serdic...
Now then, Altrius! You have revived the Holy Blade and been chosen as its wielder.

A holy knight of Valen...
How does it feel...? Going from having no identity to being a holy knight of Valen?
To be honest, I'm not sure.

Teehee... That's true. ...Do you think my elder brother will be able to rest now?
I certainly hope so. Farewell, Prince Serdic... For good, this time.

Yes, as this cutscene implies, Altrius's Spanta has been uncursed, upgrading it to the Holy Blade... Though not exactly as you may expect.

Notice the different attack bonus and different OB. While Altrius's Bio, growths and visible class have not changed, he's changed class again -- the Arch Paladin with the Holy Blade is stored as a different class in memory than the one with the cursed form of Spanta.

The Holy Blade of the Arch Paladin grants +55 attack, +50 accuracy, a 5% critical rate, and the Judgement [sic]* OB compared to the +65/+35/0% and Seven Sins of the Cold Monarch. Judgement is a 5x5 square AOE around Altrius, ala Sedna Prison; the damage formula is (3.5*Attack-Defense)*OB_mod, placing it right between Brave Ray and Seven Sins in damage, and it cannot damage allies. Naturally, it's on the class that never gets ZOC.
* Yes, "judgement" is considered correct by some. I don't agree.

The purification also unlocks an innate ability, ala Cold Monarch: Altrius now gains 50% more experience. This is good, but it's less good than it seems due to the game's experience scaling. Aegil, for example, was getting 0 experience for most of her endgame kills in Route B. Altrius is already the highest level of the group, thanks to his constant presence in the team, and so I don't expect I'll get much use out of it.

The Arch Paladin's Holy Blade is a definite improvement over Spanta stat-wise, but it's strictly worse than the Cold Monarch's. 15 accuracy and 5% critical are not worth losing 20 before-skill damage; I've never seen Serdic miss or Altrius critical. Judgement looks good on paper, but the end result is that it's worse at eliminating distant targets and bosses, which are what the Prince and Cold Monarch classes use OB for. Sure, it's better at taking out trash mobs, but while it still tears a healthy chunk out of any boss it hits, you have to use it like Blade Blast: Lure the enemy into melee range, blast them. Altrius can't take out distant targets with his OB any longer, and losing that option hurts.

(The weaker Holy Blade does make story sense. Marie had no association with the Darkness, and so her Holy Blood was pure. Prince Serdic was resurrected with the Darkness before his blood was used to purify the Blade. Between Judgement's power and animation, both of which are half-Brave Ray half-Seven Sins, it's likely that the Holy Blade hasn't completely recovered.)

Even so, the new Holy Blade is a pretty substantial upgrade. Altrius has gone from below average to above average in attack now, even if his lack of proper skills brings him back down again. I may not like Judgement much, but I'm sure I'll find some use for it.

My other comments can wait for a little bit, I think. There's a better time for it.

Resets since chapter 20: 4 (+0)

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